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The one line in this video that sums it up is this..."there is NO safe restraint". Parents need to know this before they sign the permission to restrain forms in all the public and private schools.

Kate Johns

I work and a highly reputable school that provides 1:1 ABA for children with severe Autism. I think the general concepts of the bill that just passed the house are laudable. The stories these parents have shared are terrible. However, if students have been restrained or secluded without parental consent, not by trained professionals, and by educators who have not first conducted a Functional Behavior Analysis, then those educators were not following best practices and not serving the needs of their students. The problem with this bill is that it does not allow for informed consent by parents (AHEAD OF TIME, NOT JUST AFTER THE FACT) or systematic safety planning through including any potentially-needed restraint/seclusion measures in a student's individualized behavior plan.
I work with some students who are large and have the potential to be highly aggressive or dangerously self-injurious. The use of behavior plans HEAVY on prevention and functional alternatives, but that plan for restraint/seclusion in specifically set-out criteria (based on data collection) have helped a number of our students reach extraordinary success. Some are even beginning to hold jobs. This would not be possible if we had not found a way to safely and systematically manage their dangerous behaviors.

PLEASE contact your senators and ask that the language be changed to prevent unplanned/haphazard restraint and to ensure full informed parental consent.




Here's a great example of just how pathetic school personnel and their rsstraint techniques actually are. Defending them or their practice revolts me.


I can't speak for others on this site, but I know what happened to my daughter was abuse, pure and simple, and after speaking with MANY other parents I know what she experienced is not uncommon. However, I don't for one minute think this happened to her as a result of teachers being overworked and underpaid or because of lack of training. They certainly don't lack for training in how to pull the wool over parents eyes, how to deny services, and how to get around implementing an IEP. My daughter's teachers were offered expert training at no cost. They and the special ed. director refused. We had an aide from a private agency work with my daughter in the classroom. They fired her, not wanting anyone from outside telling them how to do their job, yet they refused to provide an aide for her. There was no behavior plan. For nearly two years I asked for an FBA. It was promised but never delivered. I guess I should be grateful for that because the autistic support teacher who was supposed to do the FBA was the one who threw my daughter into the seclusion room. I knew she wasn't qualified when I asked her why she thought my daughter exhibited certain behaviors, and she said my daughter just didn't want to do her work. It seemed that every behavior was thought to be intentional bad behavior. The teachers were well aware that my daughter had also been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, but they refused to believe this and instead tried to train away her tics. They knew she had serious medical issues and was often sick and in pain, but they didn't care. This is not lack of training. This is a particular mindset. This is the deep-down belief that kids with autism are "bad" and less than human and have to be controlled.

My daughter has severe anxiety, and yes, in this kind of classroom setting she is going to exhibit some behaviors, but she was NEVER aggressive unless antagonized and backed into a corner. She was never of danger to herself or anyone else. Restraint and seclusion were used as a punishment. I've talked with other parents who know the autistic support teacher well, and they're not even surprised. I know my daughter is not the only child who was abused in this manner. We don't need more money thrown at the problem. We need legislation designed to protect children, not school districts.


I personally think if a district knows that parents are restraining their own child and giving the green light on restraint at school then we will never win this battle. There is no grey area here unfortunately. If you give consent to restrain and are even showing the district that you practice this at home then all bets are off for an appropriate behavior plan with positve supports.

I for one would never permit restraints as nine times out of ten this is done illegally and a child is hurt physically and emotionally. Highly qualified providers don't use restraint and corporal punishment.

Simon's OT mom

Hi to all. I have been an avid reading and supporter of AOA from it's beginnings, yet I've not blogged in my opinion. However, I feel I must on this issue. I really want to commend Angela for putting herself out there by giving you a picture of her own personal experiences with her son. We all here laud the praises of the recovery stories and successes of our children, but it is really hard to acknowledge the degree to which autism has ravished their behavior. I am both the mother of a 14 year old son with autism, and an occupational therapist who has worked almost 30 years in the public schools. I work in a separate special ed school that began in the '80's to service multipy disabled students - mostly severe learning disabilities with emotional issues or serious emotional disturbance with learning problems. Needless to say, as a result of the autism epidemic ( as well as the push over the years for inclusion), approximatley 95% of our students are on the autism spectrum. Angela has given a good description of what a "Well Trained" program should do when providing for a child on the spectrum with severe behaviors that interfer with learning. In doing the Functional Behavioral Analysis and subsequently doing a Behavioral Intervention Plan, the two keys are (1) making sure data is kept to indicate how effective the plan is to decrease the occurance of the behavior, and (2)making sure EVERYONE on the team is kept aware of how it is going - and that includes the parents. As part of the tour parents take of our building, they are shown the room that students may have to be removed to, if that is part of their behavior plan. At anytime that restraint is used with a student, the school health staff are present to examine the student during and after the restaint to ensure safety is maintained. Our staff who are part of the behavior team MUST be re-trained every year on safety, and updated legal issues with our students. And, if data shows that all the other types of behavior management strategies on a student's behavior plan, which could include all the visual strategies, surface management strategies, reinforcement strategies, sensory strategies, augmentative communication strategies, etc. are being used less successfully than classroom removal/restraint method, then it is probably time for the team to consider a different placement for this student. Removal/restraint should not be a surprise to anyone working with a student- including his parents. It should never be the default/go to strategy. What Angela has tried to say in a calm way is that the abuses we are seeing with restraint are horrible fall-out of NO ONE HAS YET DECLARED AUTISM TO BE A NATIONAL DISASTER and it is part and parcel of the lack of funds given to help children with autism and their families. There are not enough well trained special education teachers who understand how to educate students, regardless of their extreme behaviors. There are not enough speech pathologists to provide the language support, including augmentative and alternative communication to help students better communicate, thereby using behavior less as their way of communicating. There are not enough occupational therapists trained in sensory processing/sensory integration to help students have more even self-regulation for learning. There are not enough options for schools that can help support well trained staff to help education children on the spectrum. What we as parents, services providers, and autism organizations have got to do in this upcoming year is unify our efforts to focus attention on this epidemic and what funds are needed to humanely support the current individuals from age 2 -adulthood to live their lives and to stop the advancing avalance of individuals to be added to this disaster. If not, we will continue to discuss the issue of classroom abuses, non-insurance payments, lack of community supports for transitioning older teens, etc. as if these are separate issues. These issues are ALL part of bandaid funding of a huge dike about to burst into a tsunami.



Here's a sample letter for all parents. Make sure a copy is given to the entire Team and placed in your child's file.

Feel Free To Judge All You Want

I'm not quite sure how to respond to the below...

"I think it's horrifying that a parent on here can claim that there are times that physically restraining a child is fine. It is never fine. While she was restraining her child or giving the go ahead for others to restrain him was she worried at all about why he was having the behaviors or what he was trying to communicate? And if he didn't recover and his behaviors became worse would she still be permitting physical restraint to this day? For the sake of the kids who do not recover and are not able to tell their parents they are being dragged, placed in isolation rooms and abused I hope parents listen to people who really get it."

I really am not trying to start a cat fight here on AoA on New Years Day, but I take exception to your words Lori. I do get it, and I get it all too well.

My son was aggressive because he had little in the way of expressive language. I was aware of this then and I am still aware now, but from what I gather in your judgmental comment is that instead of restraining my son when the situation called for it, I should instead let him have caused bodily injury to my then 2 year old daughter, his older brother, myself, and children in his classroom, just because he couldn't speak? I think not. What if it was your child that ended up being injured by mine because he couldn't articulate? Would you be ok with my son not being properly restrained then?

Maybe I should introduce you to Mary Bell, the Family Program Coordinator at my husband’s base, the one who recommended that I put my son in foster care because he was so aggressive. Sounds like you and she would be a great match because if I hadn’t used restraint on my son that’s exactly where he would have ended up. No doubt that CPS would have been called because of the numerous urgent care and ER visits I would have had to make for injuries to my other children because of my son’s inability to use expressive language.

When my son was injured by his teacher and aid, his expressive language was such that it took me over 48 hours to get out of him what had happened, and that was minus many many many details. I acted immediately to protect my son from further injury.

Have I had to restrain my son since then? Yes, I have. Do I regularly seclude him here at home in the form of sending him to his room for a break when he is out of control or misbehaves? Yes, I do. He is telling me he is over-stimulated, and needs a break, just as we all do sometimes. Most of us can figure out when that line has been crossed. He is still challenged with this, that's why I am his parent. It's my job to help him figure this out, and how to act appropriately.

So, go ahead and sit in your ivory tower, and tell other parents I don't get it. Cast judgment on me all you want. Question my decisions and parenting all you want. And while you do that, think of the fact that the restraint of my son saved countless others from being injured. And also think about the fact that my son was injured at the hands of an inexperienced aid, and one of the things I have advocated for in this bill is teacher/aid training on proper restraints.
Angela Warner

Robin Nemeth


As I explained to Andrea Pattison, the most terrifying moment in my life, ever, was the day that my child’s gastro-intestinal specialist told me she might have autism. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t thank God that she doesn’t. I also told her that the second most terrifying time in my life was when I discovered, a few years ago, that not only was I going to be censored each and every time I spoke the words ‘thimerosal’ and ‘autism’ together in an internet chat room, but that the same thing was going to happen to me when I went on to a public sidewalk to do so.

No I don't believe that anything anyone with the NAA did to me equates with being thrown into a closet. And I am certainly not going to say that what I experienced was as terrifying as it must be to have somebody sit on you until you are unable to breath. I’m sure it wasn’t. I’m merely pointing out what I see as irony. If you don’t see the irony I don’t know what to tell you. If you’re insulted by my suggestion that there is irony in this matter, again I don’t know what to tell you. I will say this, however. If things keep on going in this country the way they have, for the past six years, I can’t imagine how it isn’t going to come to this – to people who speak controversial words being tossed into a closet.

I have no reason to doubt that Ms. Goldberg, after she failed in her endeavor to have me arrested there outside of the House of Blues, would have liked to have been able to toss me into a closet. Certainly there’d have been no objection from anyone else who leads these ‘support’ organizations in the Greater Cleveland area.

As it happens I’ve nothing further to say about the matter of this legislation, as I’ve said all I wish to and I do not intend to spend any further time looking into it. I’m sorry if you’ve found my words insulting. I am insulted by the suggestion that I should just ‘move past’ what happened to me. I cannot and I will not just 'move past it'. Would you not be insulted if someone were to suggest to you that you just move past the harm that was done to your children? I suspect that you would be. Fine now we are even. And no I don’t know first hand what your children have suffered, nor does anyone here know what I or mine have experienced. I don’t understand what any of this has to do with me speaking my mind. If you find my words insulting then ignore me from now on. Or you could go only to the places where anything anyone finds offensive is censored. Lord knows there are plenty of them these days.

I blame the environment and mostly the vaccines for what's happened to your children. There are times though when I honestly believe that if children deserved to suffer for the sins of their parents, that would explain a lot.


I think it's horrifying that a parent on here can claim that there are times that physically restraining a child is fine. It is never fine. While she was restraining her child or giving the go ahead for others to restrain him was she worried at all about why he was having the behaviors or what he was trying to communicate? And if he didn't recover and his behaviors became worse would she still be permitting physical restraint to this day? For the sake of the kids who do not recover and are not able to tell their parents they are being dragged, placed in isolation rooms and abused I hope parents listen to people who really get it.


Robin, unless someone from NAA has dragged you through the hallway and thrown you, alone, into a storage closet, or injured you in a prone restraint, then don't even dare comparing your experiences with an organization with what some of our kids have suffered. It's downright insulting, not to mention petty. We're dealing with a serious issue. Our kids need to be protected. If you can't move past your issues with NAA, take it to some other thread.


Thank you for posting this...This is a topic that is very close to my heart as this is what happen to our son 5yrs ago. He is still dealing with emtional issues today and it still makes me VERY mad that Public & Private School teachers are allowed to do this to these children. He is currently being Homeschooled and is thriving today. PLEASE support this bill as this does not need to happen to another child

Robin Nemeth

I spent two weeks in a private school trying to teach math to a roomful of perfectly neurologically typical seventh graders whose behavior was so out of control I couldn’t. So don’t think that I have no sympathy for the teachers in these situations. And I wouldn’t presume to say that there isn’t ever going to be a situation in which physical or mechanical restraint or seclusion might not be a good idea.

I probably shouldn’t even be butting in on this topic. Perhaps I’m a tad sensitive regarding the issue given my experiences with each and every local support organization here where I live. It’s been nothing but censorship, seclusion, and threats of restraint, whenever I’ve spoken what I believe to be true. Given all of that, there was no way that I was going to let go, without comment, the inherent hypocrisy of one of these organizations now claiming that they want to try to limit this sort of treatment.

All I’m saying is that if you’re counting on some ‘support’ organization to look after the best interests of your children, I wouldn’t presume that they’re going to do that. Most of them have one interest, it seems to me, and that’s raising money. If you’re counting on some words on paper to do it, I’d look very carefully at those words as well as the enforcement. That’s all I’m saying.

restraint IS abuse


It's also important to note, as do the parents in this video, seclusion and restraint is proven not to work. Anyone who would advocate for it clearly doesn't understand the broader problems with these techniques.

restraint IS abuse

Behaviors are communication and there is never a behavior without a reason. Restraining a child is not the solution in my opinion. This will ultimately just cause an escalation in behaviors. You're lucky that your child recovered Angela, however most children do not and the abuse gets worse in many schools particularly for the children who never develop the communication that anyone bothers to listen to. In 99% of the cases that I have observed, the restraint IS abuse as the teacher is not bothering to listen to what the child is trying to communicate and FBA's are never even performed to figure out the WHY of behaviors.

Angela Warner

I will try to keep my tongue in check as I write this post, but I make no promises.

I disagree with restraint is abuse and I'll tell you exactly why. My son was one that you would have wanted restrained so your child could be safe, and damn straight if it was another child that was creating an unsafe environment for my child, I would expect them to be restrained likewise.

When my now recovered son was 4, he could almost take me down. He could, with ease, move our 9 x 4 foot solid walnut clear across the dining room. He would throw chairs in the classroom and would go after other students, teachers, his siblings, and me. I can not tell you how many times either I or his father, had to restrain him to keep his older brother and younger sister safe. Does that make me a bad parent? I think not. Does that make the teachers and aides who judiciously used restraint and or seclusion bad? Absolutely not!

The thing that fails to be understood and addressed within the educational system is effective training for teachers and aides and include therapists if you like. There is a huge difference between directing a child into a quiet place and staying with them to help them re-focus versus locking a child in a closet. I have seen both. There is also a huge difference between physically restraining a child until they take that sigh and relax versus using more force and roughness than necessary and potentially esclating the situation. I have seen both of these as well.

Knowing that this is coming from a mom who will tell you outright that my kid was one who was restrained, and/or secluded because potentially your child needed to be protected from my own should speak volumes to you. Also knowing that my son was esclated by an aid when he made a reasonable and calm request on his own to go to a different class (back to his autism classroom) because he was overstimulated and was made to wait over 10 minutes, and then was injured in the process of being put in the "quiet room" should also speak volumes to you.

There are times when these tactics are necessary and times when they aren't. Period.

Teacher's are overworked and underpaid. They are also under trained by the districts, and that comes down to a money issue. I would say instead of splitting hairs over this legislation, what we should be adding to it is a clause for more funding for proper restraint training for our educators and therapists and classroom aides. The same as we should (and in some cases are), training police officers.

I support legislation on this issue at a national level because while IDEA does cover some, for the most part it is left up to the individual states as to what the laws are. Here in WA we have some decent ones which is why I was able to so quickly rectify my son's situation. That said there is no amount of legislation that will un-necessitate the need for parent diligence.

I hope that you all will take this to heart and give it some thought coming from the parent of a child who needed to be physically restrained and then during huge gains in recovery was injured by untrained staff.

restraint IS abuse

For Robin said:

"The link I provided is an example of a good yet basic positive support plan. The reason that restraint and seclusion must be noted in a positive support plan is because it is illegal for a school to implement either without the restraint or seclusion techniques appropriate and individualized to the child. These restraints and/or seclusion are only to be used when the student is a danger to himself or others, and unless it is an emergency, that plan can not legally be deviated from."

Sure....tell parents to give teachers permission to restrain and use time out (which has no science behind it and makes no sense for autistic children who WANT to be removed form social situations and demands. Easier for the dead beat therapists though.) Also, I'd like to know the fantasy world where schools actually follow the law of "can't deviate from the plan." Um, have you been in these schools? Illegal restraints occur hundreds of times per day. Do you think because it is written in a plan anyone cares if they are illegally restraining or not? Do you think the DOE is there watching? No. I have to cringe since I have seen so much illegal restraint going on that this advice is laughable.

Robin, bottom line, restraint is abuse and giving permission for "appropriate restraint" is like saying a parent can appropriately beat their child. It's ridiculous and ued by VERY bad ABA providers and inept teachers in the industry.


To "For Robin":

Restraint does NOT have to be noted in a BIP and smart parents don't allow it. As a matter of fact, smart parents follow up with a letter saying they will not allow restraints and do you know why? Because schools will use any form of permission, be it on a behavior plan or on a signed release, as a green light to allow horribly trained "therapists" (and I use that word very loosely) to decide under what situations restraint is called for. Restraints are used constantly, even in the best centers and under ridiculous circumstances. Parents, DON'T permit any form of restraint on your child. It is abuse plain and simple.

For Robin

Robin said: "I still don’t understand what ‘evidence based’ practice means. Who determines what evidence is considered, and what evidence is persuasive enough to warrant declaring a precedure efficacious? What is a ‘modality’? Are there other modalities besides ABA?"

When talking about evidence based in the context of special ed it will typically mean one or both of the following: the technique has previously been successful with the child or evidence based through five decades of study (referring specifically to ABA here). Any teacher or behavioral therapist worth their salt can pull from any modality of behavior intervention and adjust it to the principals of ABA so data can be produced. There are several modalities of behavior intervention; ABA, floortime, TEAACH, and RDI to name a few.

The link I provided is an example of a good yet basic positive support plan. The reason that restraint and seclusion must be noted in a positive support plan is because it is illegal for a school to implement either without the restraint or seclusion techniques appropriate and individualized to the child. These restraints and/or seclusion are only to be used when the student is a danger to himself or others, and unless it is an emergency, that plan can not legally be deviated from.

You can also google Functional Behavior Assessment and get some good info on how the process comes together.



Robin Nemeth


I still don’t understand what ‘evidence based’ practice means. Who determines what evidence is considered, and what evidence is persuasive enough to warrant declaring a precedure efficacious? What is a ‘modality’? Are there other modalities besides ABA?

What is a ‘positive behavior support’? I’ve heard of positive and negative discipline, and have always thought of positive discipline as reward for ‘good’ behavior, and negative discipline as punishment for ‘bad’ behavior. A positive support plan that includes restraints (unless a student enjoys being restrained) strikes me as an oxymoron.

You speak of motivation for acceptable behavior. None of this seems new to me—only the attempt to legislate details.

You say that you don’t know what happened to me. I would be happy to tell you. I will try to be brief.

I was threatened with arrest by the local Autism Speaks chapter president, Ms. Shari Goldberg, simply for politely asking people on a public sidewalk if they’d like information about vaccine safety. I was lied to and lied about by this woman when she first accused me of threatening and harassing guests in order to summon the police, and then later said publicly that the whole incident never happened. I was told by another autism ‘support’ organization leader, Ms. Marian Helmick of AutismNE, “oh well we only post POSITIVE comments on our forum”, when I attempted to write about the arrest attempt on AutismNE and post details of what happened to me. I attempted to do that shortly after I’d seen a post by Ms. Goldberg, on AutismNE, in which she was attempting to raise money for Autism Speaks. When I attempted to post documentation, it was censored by Ms. Helmick. I was told by Mr. Gus Galluci, vice-president of the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland, “Oh I believe your story—that you were threatened with arrest simply for trying to hand out information on a public sidewalk. However, I’m not going to stop supporting a whole group of people simply because YOU happen to have issues with them.” I was told this when I confronted him wanting to know why it was that his organization was helping Autism Speaks raise money. Then there was the head of Greater Cleveland Asperger Support, Theresa Szalkowski, who told me “Sure you can post an introductory letter to our organization’s internet forum. Just let me edit your post, oh and btw, you shouldn’t go into your problems with the other organizations.”

I’m unaware what the leadership of the local chapter of the NAA thinks of the treatment that I received. I am, however, aware of the fact that the wife of the local chapter president is sufficiently unconcerned about it that she’s got no problem, apparently, publicly stating that she is friends with the local chapter president of AS.

She would like to be my friend, as well. That will happen when hell freezes over—so long as she is of the opinion that it’s acceptable for her friends to use any thuggish behavior they like in order to silence people who disagree with them or whose information threatens their interests.

Forgive me if the first question that comes to mind, when I hear of this legislation, is “who stands to benefit financially – which specific individuals or organizations – from it?”

Speaking of motivation, am I correct in understanding that if teachers or administrators are found to be restraining or secluding students unnecessarily, funds can be withheld? What better way to encourage that no one ever finds out?

And I still think that cameras in classrooms would be better. A picture after all is worth a thousand words. Why so many words instead of a few cameras?

Angela Warner

Hey Robin, I want to try to answer a few of your questions and if anyone reading this has anything to add or I need to be corrected, please chime in. I'm a parent, albeit one who has been through the ropes, but i am no expert.

Robin said: "I have a lot of questions. What is the difference between a physical restraint and a mechanical one? What is the difference between a physical restraint and seclusion?"

The difference between physical restraint and a mechanical one... a physical restraint is exactly that, a person using their own physical strength to restrain someone. Mechanical restrain would be using some sort of device (say bounding to a chair) to restrain. The difference between physical restraint and seclusion... physical restraint as described above versus seclusion, which could bluntly be described as locking the child in a closet, or as was referred to at my son's previous school, "the quiet room".

Robin said: "‘POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORTS- The term `positive behavior supports' means a systematic approach to embed evidence-based practices and data-driven decisionmaking to improve school climate and culture, including a range of systemic and individualized strategies to reinforce desired behaviors and diminish reoccurrence of problem behaviors, in order to achieve improved academic and social outcomes and increase learning for all students, including those with the most complex and intensive behavioral needs.’

I can’t say I really understand this but ‘evidence based’ practices sound a lot to me like ‘evidence based’ medicine. I rest my case."

Ok... so you have a child with autism (or any other disability for that matter) who is tantruming wildly in school. The first step to alleviating the tantrums would be for staff and parents to complete a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). The goal of the FBA is to determine what antecedents there may be to the tantrums (if any) and determine if there is anything in the environment that can be changed to prevent these (say a teacher's actions are the antecedent and they are esclating the child without even realizing they're doing this). Next comes the positive support plan, and this is where the evidence based practices comes into play. The evidence based practices are typically based on ABA or other behavior intervention modalities, and as such data can be pulled from them which is necessary for IEP reports as the positive behavior supports would then be included in the IEP reports. On paper, yes, one could interpret it to mimic evidence based medicine, but there is no comparison. To compare the two is to compare apples and oranges.

The goal of the positive behavior supports would be to minimize tantruming. So say the tantrums are brought on by quick transitions, the plan would include methods to help the child work through the transition, say through a longer transition period and a reward (motivator) of some kind for success (we have used things such as legos, small stuffed animals - I personally hate it when food is used, but sometimes it's the only thing that will work for some kids). The plan also includes tactics to de-esclate a tantrum, and when that doesn't work, one of the key things a positive support plan includes is when, how, under what circumstances, and what type of restraint is to be used.

I hope this helps, and like I said, if anyone has anything else to add, please do so.

Robin Nemeth

Angela wrote: Your decision should be based on the merit of the organization not one person, and especially on the language contained in the bill.

I think a person can be judged by the company they keep, and an organization by the people who lead it.

But anyway, I agree, you are right about judging a bill based on the language in it. Here’s a snippet from this one:

(1) School personnel shall be prohibited from imposing on any student the following:
(A) Mechanical restraints.
(B) Chemical restraints.
(C) Physical restraint or physical escort that restricts breathing.
(D) Aversive behavioral interventions that compromise health and safety.
(2) School personnel shall be prohibited from imposing physical restraint or seclusion on a student unless--
(A) the student's behavior poses an imminent danger of physical injury to the student, school personnel, or others;
(B) less restrictive interventions would be ineffective in stopping such imminent danger of physical injury;
(C) such physical restraint or seclusion is imposed by school personnel who--
(i) continuously monitor the student face-to-face; or
(ii) if school personnel safety is significantly compromised by such face-to-face monitoring, are in continuous direct visual contact with the student;
(D) such physical restraint or seclusion is imposed by--
(i) school personnel trained and certified by a State-approved training program (as defined in section 4(16)); or
(ii) other school personnel in the case of a rare and clearly unavoidable emergency circumstance when school personnel trained and certified as described in clause (i) are not immediately available due to the unforeseeable nature of the emergency circumstance; and
(E) such physical restraint or seclusion end immediately upon the cessation of the conditions described in subparagraphs (A) and (B).

I have a lot of questions. What is the difference between a physical restraint and a mechanical one? What is the difference between a physical restraint and seclusion? Yes I understand that the definitions for these terms are available if only I take the time to look them up in the various sections and subsections of sixteen or so different Acts and I admit that I haven’t done that. Is it left to the discretion of the teachers to decide what is ‘imminent danger’? I would presume it would be, as I believe that if something is ‘imminent’ it needs to be dealt with immediately. Will any attempt ever be made to determine if this assessment of the situation was correct—that individuals did indeed face imminent danger? What will happen to these teachers if it is determined that they were wrong? I have encountered a slew of people who believe that allowing others to speak the truth is threatening to them. When a teacher decides that she doesn’t like it when a student says that he or she is fat, will this be considered ‘threatening’ to the teacher? (I’ve heard credible reports of it happening before. The students were given electric shock for their unacceptable behavior.) What does this bill really accomplish if it allows teachers to leave a student in seclusion so long as they are being (ostensibly) visually monitored? Do you honestly believe that a teacher who would inflict unnecessary harm or seclusion on a child will be stopped from doing so simply because this language was passed into law? How will it be enforced? Will there be any consequences for teachers and administrators other than the withholding, in whole or in part, further payments under an applicable program (as such term is defined in section 400(c) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C.? According to this bill (if I understand it correctly) physical restraint or seclusion must end when there is no longer a treat of harm or when less restrictive measures would work. How is that to be determined? How often is it to be assessed? Who determines when less restrictive interventions would be ineffective? How do they determine this? Are they able to read the mind of the student in question to know what the student they are contemplating restraining might intend to do? How else does one determine when less restrictive interventions MIGHT be ineffective? What recourse will a parent have if they are notified that their child has been physically restrained or forced into seclusion repeatedly?

Angela wrote: I'm sure you all can imagine that I took care of it efficiently and quickly.

I expect that that’s the sort of thing that’s going to stop children from being harmed in the future.

More language from the bill:

‘POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORTS- The term `positive behavior supports' means a systematic approach to embed evidence-based practices and data-driven decisionmaking to improve school climate and culture, including a range of systemic and individualized strategies to reinforce desired behaviors and diminish reoccurrence of problem behaviors, in order to achieve improved academic and social outcomes and increase learning for all students, including those with the most complex and intensive behavioral needs.’

I can’t say I really understand this but ‘evidence based’ practices sound a lot to me like ‘evidence based’ medicine. I rest my case.

If my children were on the spectrum, I’d want cameras in the classrooms at all times.

BTW,there’s a guy on c span right now who’s calling in saying he was assaulted by the police when he was going thru booking, in Massachusetts. Commented that there’s no video recording that takes place.

Oh, yeah, he doesn’t sound autistic at all, to me.

Angela Warner

I support this bill, and I am thankful for NAA.

My son was injured during a restraint and seclusion. I'm sure you all can imagine that I took care of it efficiently and quickly. The teacher was demoted to nothing more than an assistant to boot.

My son did not have an FBA nor a behavioral plan on board at the time even though I had been requesting one for weeks as they were having challenges with his behavior exclating which I later found out was being caused by the assistants actions and it almost sounds as if they were intentionally doing it. SICK!!!

We need this bill. Our kids need this bill!

Robin as far as your experience goes, you need to realize that what happened in the past with AS and your rep has nothing to do with this bill and your support of it. I think it is time that you let that go (that doesn't mean that you forget), but it seems as though you are basing any decision you might make about the good things that NAA does for our children on your bad experience with this particular person. Your decision should be based on the merit of the organization not one person, and especially on the language contained in the bill.

Thanks NAA!!! Love you guys! and the PSA is awesome!!!!


This is VERY needed. Last year a high school teacher in our district dragged a non-verbal, highly anxious boy to the bus. He had rug burns on his back and arms. I still am not sure why he is still teaching. Another highly anxious boy, in that same school, was "cornered" in a room and threatened with a taser. (We have a police officer in each of our high schools). He is now in another school and doing wonderfully, but is VERY afraid of the police, now.


"Better than nothing" is worse than nothing if there's any complacency that this bill is the be-all, end-all or if instituting this bill gives Congress an excuse to say "See, we've done something; go away with your continued demands".

Stricter regulations, tighter language, full disclosure, accountability and cameras are needed to control the number of education professionals who seem to have a need to abuse. Though positive alternatives are the key, no offering of better alternatives alone would stop this subset of abusers if those alternatives required more work and commitment on a day to day basis; it seems that all that could stop some of these individuals is the presence of witnesses who could report them, the feeling they are being watched at all times.

I'm not actually that shocked that this situation has emerged as the number of disabled students has skyrocketed. When I was in school, we always sensed those few teachers who were filled with hostility and dangerous potential. You could only wonder what these adults would do if they thought they could get away with it. But there were no easy targets back then because there wasn't a single child with autism or nonverbal disability among the 1,000 children in my gradeschool or highschool.

As usual, regulations are for that eternal minority who act inhumanely and the unfortunately large number of people who will be complicitly silent and enable the inhumanity to avoid trouble for themselves.


" Please do it for my son who has autism and was repeatedly prone restrained face down flat on the floor with 2-3 adults holding him down on the floor where he probably cried out for me to help him. "

Positional asphyxia is caused by a person being pressed to the floor in such a manner that the weight of the body and the force used to subdue someone by pinning them to the floor does not allow their lungs to expand enough to take in enough air thus deceasing the amount of oxygen the person need. The person is pinned to the floor usually after a struggle. Breathing hard is a sign of a need for oxygen. When pressed down the person's own weight (extremely troublesome if the person is overweight) already causes problems in breathing but add to that more weight used by the person or persons attempting to restrain the individual and you have a recipe for danger. The more the lack of oxygen, the more the person struggles to get free, to breathe, thus the more pressure is placed upon the person to subdue him/her, sometimes causing death.

Same can be said about a strap or belt restraint across the chest.



Even though it is extremely rare someone dies from this method of restraint, the survivors of these attacks must feel as if they have been waterboarded. It is torture.


Gatogorra summed up all of my concerns and frustrations perfectly. Who decides what kind of training is appropriate? How do you prevent the teachers from lying? They will always lie to justify the need for restraints and seclusion. I will support this law because it's all we have right now, but it doesn't go far enough. Children are still going to be abused in school.

I removed my daughter from public school over a year ago because of deplorable conditions for children with autism, including the arrest of young children for behaviors due to their disability. Just a few weeks ago, my daughter revealed to me she had been put, alone, in a "quiet room." She also told me a teacher had thrown lemonade in her face. I am wondering if it was actually lemon spray which apparently some schools use as a chemical restraint. Our family has been devastated by this. She can't talk about what happened without getting extremely upset. I now know why she is terrified of being alone. I can't sleep at night knowing what she went through. I don't know if I can ever really know a moment of happiness when I know that she has to live with those horrible memories. I will never entrust her to a school again. I will probably be home schooling her forever.

My daughter is high-functioning and verbal,
yet she never told me what had happened until now. Don't think it can't happen to your child or that it only happens in "bad" schools. It can happen to any child and you may never know.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Its time to get busy and tell teachers and school employees what they CAN do with autistic children- Giving them alternatives which they themselves will find more attractive than a battle scene. And schools need to help the teachers and provide assistants who know these methods. A teacher cant do these things on her own.


"this is better than nothing" the autism anthem...


This bill is better than nothing and a foot in the door, though it seems to leave a few things to be desired. From my understanding (unless something changed in the bill), I don't think it's going to get us cameras in the classroom which, sorry to say, is the only way to get schools to stop lying about abuse.

Having mandatory reporting of all restraint incidents (in the bill) would be only a slight improvement on the current system because most of the things that we object to are already on the books. The problem is the loopholes and interpretations and, again, the schools' misrepresentations and lack of accountability. Maybe getting this bill passed is the first step in that direction. I guess that's what many activists seem to feel about it.

But there's a lot more to be done. For instance, the restraints with the deadliest records, face down and supine prone, are only supposed to be used in cases when students' behavior bears imminent risk of injury to themselves or others. But most incidents of injurious or deadly restraint were not to prevent children from harming themselves or harming others but simply to stop/punish disruptive behaviors associated with autism.

All the same, the DOE argues against banning face down/supine prone on the pretext that it's the last ditch to prevent injury. The schools lie about what instigated the "need" for restraints, lie about force used, duration, etc. Face down/supine prone should NEVER be used because of the hugely increased risk of death to children with autism who suffer from GI disorders which increase chances of aspiration asphyxia and hypotonia which makes it easier to crush the diaphragm.

We need

-Mandatory reporting (of course).
-Cameras in the classroom.
-Parents' access to tapes.
-Federal ban on all prone restraints.
-Federal ban on any "hold" that restricts airway (for instance, holding arms beyind and raising them; laying child across teachers' knees as tricky ways to still suppress breathing to knock the stuffing out of children).
-DPS jurisdiction in schools to investigate staff abuse of children with a firewall between DOE and DPS.
-Massive changes in Due Process to prevent proceedings from leaning too heavily in favor of schools as they do in most states.
-Changes to IDEA that specify the positive "evidence based" approaches like ABA which must be instituted instead of letting schools make up their own science as a way to get out of paying for ABA, etc.
-Tightening up the language and closing the loopholes on existing statutes against abuse.
-Laws mandating change of administration for schools in which offenses are repeated regardless of whether administrators were directly involved.
-A strict legal standard for what constitutes "crisis management training" so that schools can't settle for a few hours of demonstrations by some mercenary "training" outfit that irresponsibly demonstrates holds which should not even be legal and fails to provide full disclosure of risks of injury.

Just my two cents. I'm sure there are things I haven't thought of.


Dear Robin,

This bill is was not created for "peaceful students that just want to speak their mind." This bill was created to protect children with disabilities. Most of the children are nonverbal or they have very poor expressive communication skills. Many of the children have autism. This bill was created for children who have been injured in the public school system by being prone restrained, forced into locked seclusion rooms or closets, tied to rifton or rifton type chairs, duct taped to their desks, hand-cuffed to chairs or desks, deprived food and bathroom facilities, suspended and arrested because of behaviors that are part of their disability.

Where did you get the idea that the bill is at least several hundred pages long? The bill is approximately 26 pages long and easy reading for anyone that wants to stop this kind of abuse from happening to any child. Please click on the links below to read the bill language.
H.R. 4247 - Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (Introduced in House)
Senate Bill 2860 - Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (Introduced in Senate)

Robin, I do not know you or know what happened to you in the past with the NAA person but that should not have anything to do with you supporting this bill that is desperately needed to keep children with disabilities safe in the school system. Please do it for my son who has autism and was repeatedly prone restrained face down flat on the floor with 2-3 adults holding him down on the floor where he probably cried out for me to help him. This was done to my son for over a period of almost 2 years without my knowledge. I was never notified by phone or in writing and only found out by accident. My son's behaviors escalated, he regressed in everything and suffered a breakdown. Please support the bills for the thousands of other children who have been through and are still going through what my son has been through. Please help stop the over use of restraint and seclusion by calling your US Legislators and asking them to co-sponsor H.R. Bill 4247 and Senate Bill 2860.

If you would like to watch the NAA video, please click on the link below and then click on the video. NAA did a fantastic job putting this video together to support our children.


Phyllis Musumeci
Parent Advocate and mom to Christian
Families Against Restraint and Seclusion


We've Got a Big Problem!!!


Jake Crosby

I like it!


I cant see the post, and really would like to!
ON a local 'Moms' website (milwaukeemoms.com) on their discussion boards, its ironic because, the subject that a local school district (Greenfield, WI if anyone cares to bombard that district with info, as I am now in process of researching, even though its not our personal district, its STILL WRONG), this district is using the Stimulus Money to design and BUILD A SECLUSION ROOM! The majority of people who post on this local boards message board really dont 'get into' too many REAL and 'important' debates...and there havent been any great posts saying that THIS IDEA IS WRONG, I posted a long email last night and am going back now to post the links to the latest GAO study, and various other PRO human/disability sites...because the majority (there are thousands of members to the message boards, however there are less than 10 posts including mine, and probably 4 or so are from the same user, so not many people I believe have the kahonus (sp?) to even POST in defense of human rights....the majority have been "well I agree it shouldnt be used all of the time, but dont you want your child, the teachers, other students all to be safe" type of general and naive...actually ignorant is a better word than naive in this situation...and it ticks me off! Heck, if anyone wants to join to help me out, I would LOVE it!
Anyway, off to post..I mean, seriously, why would this district want to BUILD something that the majority of schools/districts that DO have them are trying to move away from them (at least the good ones are anyway)...and they want to ADD ONE? With OUR Federal MONEY? Gosh, if this one is trying, how many others are?
Anyone know if there is a mission to find out what districts USE/HAVE them, and what ones do not, so that maybe we can write to those that DO NOT and write Good complimints to them, and also make sure they dont have the desire to do it, with prooving why they are so very wrong, and so very dangerous!
Mom to Ethan, Alex, and Megan

Maurine Meleck

video removed-not able to view.

Robin Nemeth

When I try to play the video it says 'this video has been removed by the user'.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m necessarily in favor of students being restrained—especially peaceful students who are simply speaking their mind.

But I thought it was damned ironic when I got the email from a leader of my local NAA, asking me to support a bill that’s probably at least a few hundred pages long and that I’m probably not going to understand even if I took the time to read it. No, I’m probably supposed to support this bill because she asks me to.

I’d have to trust somebody an awful lot, to support a bill I haven’t read; and let’s just say it’s impossible for me to support a person who doesn’t seem to think it was problematic at all when, a few years ago as I stood outside of an Autism Speaks benefit asking people on a public sidewalk if they would like information about vaccine safety, I was told to leave or I’d be arrested. She sees nothing wrong in befriending the person who told me to leave, accused me of threatening and harassing guests when I was doing no such thing, and then later lied to and about me on a public internet forum when she made the claim that no arrest attempt was ever made. And this woman, this leader of my local NAA, she doesn’t seem to be in any great hurry to give me an explanation for her actions.

I guess freedom is only important when it’s the freedom of you and yours that’s at stake.

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